When you go to the dentist, your primary goal is to get relief from a discomfort or tooth sensitivity that your dental problem has been giving you. You also would want to look better after a dental procedure that fixes or improves the look of your teeth, right? So if after a procedure, you start to feel something uncomfortable, you would start to panic or worry that something may not have turned right with the treatment. So, let us discuss one of the most talked-about dental procedures that may cause a bit of discomfort after – dental fillings. Why does a patient experience tooth sensitivity after cavity filling?
What can you expect after a dental filling?
Well, this will depend on how extensive the damage on your tooth is. If it is mild, then you will not feel any discomfort or negative effects after the procedure. You may feel tingly or sensitive when you first drink or consume something cold or hot, but other than that, you can be back to your normal self. However, if your tooth damage is a bit more on the moderate to severe side, your dentist may opt to use an anesthetic to help you cope with the procedure. For your information, your dentist scrapes of all the damaged parts of your tooth and puts a sealant or filling to cover it. The procedure in itself may make you wince with pain if the extent of damage is near the pulp or the inside of your tooth that contains the nerves. So if your dentist used a numbing agent, you can expect that you will regain your sensation in a couple of hours.
Once the anesthesia wears off, some patients complain of pain or noticeable sensitivity in the gums, on the affected area, or when applying pressure to the corrected tooth, like when clenching jaws, chewing, and even brushing or flossing teeth. This is not the typical sensitivity you feel after a successful dental filling procedure.
What causes tooth sensitivity after cavity filling?
There are several instances that we can suspect to be the culprit of this discomfort.
Nerve irritation. This may happen if the tooth damage is extensive that the scraping and removal of the decay are deeper than the usual. Your dentist may have removed the outer layers of the tooth that almost touches the innermost cavity where the nerves are located. If this happens, the nerves become irritated and swollen, causing pain and sensitivity. But you do not have to worry because this will subside once the nerves ‘calm down’ and heal.
Pulpitis. If you needed a dental filling after an injury or accident that damaged your tooth, or to replace a damaged filling, then chances of developing pulpitis are high. Pulpitis is the inflammation of the innermost part of the tooth called pulp which houses the nerves. This is different from mere nerve irritation because, in this instance, the inflammation and irritation cannot be reversed. The extent of tooth damage already reached the pulp that it begins to die even after the dental filling. If this happens, the dentist can salvage the tooth through root canal treatment with antibiotic use.
Some tooth sensitivity after a cavity filling is normal. But if your symptoms persist and worsens, maybe it is best to see your dentist and make sure that your overall dental health is managed.